Learning a foreign language continues to be a weak feature of education in the UK. The Pennine Trust believes there is a need to do something significantly different to address this. Most countries ensure their citizens learn English from an early age. In an increasingly global community, citizens from this country will compete for jobs with people from other countries who can speak English as well as their native language. China is already a superpower and is likely to become one of the most influential countries. The ability to speak Chinese is likely to become increasingly important over traditional European languages. In the Pendle area, where there is considerable disadvantage, learning Chinese will give our pupils a competitive advantage.
The Pennine Trust has opted to place specialist Chinese teachers in primary schools to start their learning as early as year 3. Their progress will be significant by the time they enter year 7 and, if this can be built on at KS3, will give them much better prospects of achieving well at GCSE level. Research has proven that some pupils who struggle with English or French, are much more successful in learning Chinese. Park High School has strong cultural links with China which have been built upon through funding and a network of support for the development of the subject through SWIRE.
The Pennine Trust offers a relevant, broad, vibrant and ambitious Mandarin Curriculum that uses a wide variety of topics and themes designed to engage, inspire and excite our pupils.
All Key Stage 2 classes are offered a high-quality Mandarin curriculum. It has been designed to progressively develop our pupils’ knowledge and understanding of foreign languages through regularly taught and well-planned weekly lessons. Children will progressively acquire, use and apply a growing bank of vocabulary, language and grammatical knowledge organised around age-appropriate topics and themes, learning to speak, listen, read and write in Mandarin.
The Progression Map outlines what each class in each year group will be taught according to a spiralled model of learning, where prior learning is recycled within new topics. This way of learning encourages creativity, collaboration and substantive knowledge of Chinese culture and language.
This is delivered through half-termly teaching units comprising of 6 lessons with clearly defined objectives based on 3 fundamental pillars combining vocabulary, phonics, and grammar. Pupils’ knowledge will increase step by step so they will understand and produce ever more complex language and extend their writing activities. These tasks are intended to help the children to recall the language taught with increased fluency and ease. In addition, cross-curricular links are carefully planned with and co-led by the Mandarin and other class teachers to allow pupils to identify key vocabulary in different subjects through immersive activities.
Units are progressive within themselves as subsequent lessons within a unit build on the language and knowledge taught in previous lessons and year groups. As pupils progress through the lessons in a unit they will build their knowledge and develop the complexity of the language they use. Pupils’ learning and progression will be assessed formatively and at summative assessment points throughout the academic year. Metacognitive strategies are explicitly employed within pedagogy to ensure knowledge builds over time and pupils therefore know more and remember more.
Pupils will develop confidence and competence in Mandarin. As their knowledge grows over time, they will be able to access longer texts and will be encouraged to formulate their own, more personalised responses based on a much wider bank of vocabulary, linguistic structures and grammatical knowledge. They will be able to create longer pieces of spoken and written language and will be encouraged to use a variety of conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, opinions, and justifications. The information will be recorded and will be monitored for impact. Pupils will also be offered self-assessment grids to ensure they are also aware of their own progress.